When I was growing up, my great aunt used to grow her own lush vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes. I remember bowls full of these glorious tomatoes on her kitchen bench, picked straight from the vine and the quirky colours gave them life and character. She would slice and throw them into simple summer salads married with fresh cucumber and dressed with wine vinegar, fine sliced red onion and fresh garden herbs, ready to serve for our lunch or dinner. It was simple healthy food that she seemingly whipped up in around 10 minutes. Sometimes she would serve it plain and simple and other times the salad would be topped with fine slices of feta or strained farm house cheese that she made from strained cultured yoghurt.
I’ve taken my aunt’s inspiration and wanted to share one of my favourite salads that signifies this time of year. My Greek Salad is a regular addition at my dinner table and what I love about it is that any leftovers can be eaten for lunch the next day. Fresh sun-ripened tomatoes – if you can get the heirloom variety that’s awesome, as the flavour and colours are magnificent. Cool Lebanese cucumber tones down the complexity of the flavours whilst fine shavings of good quality feta adds a lush creaminess. I’ve used my awesome home made vinaigrette made simply from cold pressed olive oil and apple cider vinegar that is enhanced by a small spoonful of Dijon mustard.
What’s great about it:
Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, a power packed antioxidant that helps prevent heart disease and cancer. They are a good source of vitamin C for synthesis of collagen and immune function as well as vitamin E to help protect the body from oxidative damage. Cucumbers provide anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer benefits. Capsicum is a great source of beta-carotene which is an antioxidant and precursor to vitamin A, helping to promote vision and support reproduction, growth as well as a healthy immune system.
600 g heirloom tomatoes or cherry tomato sliced
1 red onion, sliced
2 Lebanese cucumbers sliced
2 capsicum (bell peppers), cut into chunks
bunch fresh chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
150 g good quality feta cheese
kalamata olives handful.
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
3 tablespoons cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
Combine tomato, onion, cucumber, capsicum, olives, parsley leaves and oregano into a large bowl.
Combine dressing ingredients then pour over the tomatoes and mix through.
Arrange onto a serving plate.
Top with quality feta and enjoy.
Serve alone or along side white fish, sardines, organic hard boiled eggs.